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30 November, 2021

Crime stats: Mareeba at increased risk

CRIME statistics for the past 12 months reveal that Mareeba residents are more than double at risk of being a victim of crime as their counterparts just 25 minutes away in Atherton.

By Robyn Holmes

Statistics from Queensland Police show that Mareeba had 1951 offences recorded over the past year compared to 967 in Atherton. 

The breakdown indicates a disturbing picture of crime in Mareeba, with more than double the number of assaults (262) during that time, compared to 103 in its neighbouring town. 

Similarly, Good Order offences – which include public nuisance, public urination, consuming liquor in a public place, obstructing or assaulting police, possession of knives in public places and threatening violence – came to 271 for Mareeba, while Atherton recorded 128.

Another disturbing trend was incidences of property damage, with 239 recorded for Mareeba, nearly triple that of Atherton at just 85. 

On just one night last week, three commercial Byrnes Street premises were the target of thieves, with new hair studio JR Hair and the Anthill Hotel broken into, and an attempted theft of a vehicle from Busy at Work. 

An 18-year-old Mareeba woman has been charged with entering a premises over the Anthill break-in. She allegedly forced entry to the business and attempted to gain entry to the bar area. Further damage was caused to other doors in an attempt to gain entry. Witnesses spotted the woman on the roof of the building and contacted police. 

JR Hair owner Julie said this was the third time her premises had been broken since she opened her studio just nine weeks ago. 

“I’ve had a gutful already and I’ve only been here nine weeks,” she said. 

“They stole some cash, a speaker, and pulled everything out of the cupboards.” 

On the same night, a Keeble Street father of two (pictured) was allegedly attacked by a gang of people in his own back yard. 

According to a Facebook post on Mareeba Crime and Alerts, the man was sitting in his yard having a cigarette before he went to bed, when he saw people trying to enter his property. 

“They became aggressive so he tried to lead them away from his house because he had two small children inside. As he tried to go back into his driveway to get away from them, he was met by a group of around 25 more of them and they proceeded to beat him with bottles and planks of wood, repeatedly hitting him in the head with bricks and stones,” the post read. 

“They didn’t stop until police arrived and he was hospitalised. Several times since he was released from hospital, they have tried attacking him while he has been with his small children. 

“Something really needs to happen in this town about the crime if a person can’t even sit in their own back yard without almost being beaten to death over literally nothing.” 

The attack prompted a warning to people not to walk alone down the street as “people often hang out there in large groups and become very aggressive towards anyone who even walks past them”. 

The post drew a strong reaction from wellknown Mareeba resident and former business operator for more than 30 years, Barry Simpson. 

“The system worked better when we had a police force that enforced the law. These days we only have a police service who often arrive too late, act as a taxi service for juvenile recidivist crims and seem to do little to make the community safer apart from telling us that “it’s all bad everywhere else”. 

“If the crims and the cops cannot solve and/ or arrest the current problems, then get someone committed to actions and results rather than talk fests and bulls..t statements that have made an already bad and unsafe community only get worse.” 

Mareeba Shire Council passed a motion recently to “insist the Premier take urgent action on issues of youth crime, anti-social behaviour and vandalism and immediately restores the Queensland Police contingent in Mareeba to full strength and ideally second additional staff.” 

Mayor Angela Toppin said she was very concerned. 

“Crime reduction and policing are not core council responsibilities, however, improving community safety is one of the council's key advocacy priorities,” she said. 

During October, Mayor Toppin presented a motion to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Conference seeking support to urgently address youth crime and antisocial behaviour in communities.

“This motion was supported by the Local Government Associations in attendance, and I will continue to work with LGAQ to formally advocate to the State Government,” she said. 

“I have said many times that crime causes fear and division in the community, and there is no place for it.” 

State Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said she shared community concerns about crime statistics. 

“Everybody has a right to feel safe,” Ms Lui said. 

“Mareeba is a wonderful place to live, and we want to keep that reputation intact. 

“Crime is a complex issue and I have great faith in the work of police and other agencies to keep our community safe.’’

OFFENCES (Nov 2020 – Nov 2021) ATHERTON MAREEBA
Homicide 1
Other Homicide 1
Assault 75 262
Unlawful Entry 103 176
Robbery 2
Arson 4 5
Other Property Damage 85 221
Unlawful Use of Motor Vehicle 27 66
Other Theft (excluding Unlawful Entry) 163 239
Other Offences Against a Person 8 27
Fraud 36 69
Handling Stolen Goods 8 12
Drug Offences 117 145
Drunkenness and Liquor Offences 3 16
Trespassing, Vagrancy 20 32
Offences Under Weapons Act 21 14
Good Order Offences 128 271
Traffic Related Offences 162 374
Miscellaneous 15 19

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